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The Introvert’s Guide to an Exciting and Fulfilling Love Life

The Introvert’s Guide to an Exciting and Fulfilling Love Life

Sooner or later, we all fall in love with our own Mr. Darcys and Jane Eyres. “Shrined in double retirement”, deeply immersed in their fictional universes and lovingly shy with their captivating words, introverts are the most beautiful beings among highly sensitive people.

Being misunderstood for a pompous fellow, Mr. Darcy explains his inner turmoil with a mutter: “I certainly have not the talent which some people possess, of conversing easily with those I have never seen before.”

The thrilling face of love doesn’t come easily to persons in hiding. Even if it does appear from thin air, which is a miraculous rarity, reading its signs and responding appropriately is emotionally draining. Unique and individualistic as they are, introverts rather draw their blinds and read on.

And it’s perfectly fine! As an extroverted guy, I laugh loudly and shout my arguments, but my eyes are always drawn to a girl quietly drawing cityscapes on her beer glass in the corner. I’ve known many introverts in my life, and all of them have delighted me with their emotional depths, their windowsill contemplations and their remarkable minds.

To all of you sensitive souls in search of affection and meaning, here’s what I’ve learned from my beautifully introverted friends and their challenges of living an exciting and fulfilling love life.

A Frightening Delight of A Meeting Place

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    Beer pong might be fun, but feeling the evening breeze on your skin is simply electrifying. Miles Davis is endlessly smoother when experienced from your kitchen carpet, and so are Faulkner and Richard Linklater. There’s nothing as wonderful as an introverted soul and the way it projects itself into arts, thoughts and serenity. The only problem is – there’s no one around to share your stellar visions with.

    A line between seclusion and loneliness is thin and infinitely confusing, and once revealed, the need for someone to love and understand your solitary meditations starts to grow with every page. The question of where to meet and how to approach them becomes essential. Here are a couple of ideas.

    The Outskirts of a Party

    Undoubtedly, parties and other equally crowded social events are not exactly your cup of tea. They’re cramped places full of empty chatter that always deepen your reticence and make you wish you were comfortably alone for the evening. They are far beyond your comfort zone, and for the time being, they should be. (Un)fortunately, it’s the only way of meeting your kin, and you can be sure that each party has at least two.

    If joining a roaring argument or starting a conversation with extroverts is simply too overwhelming, check out the hiding places – usually, there’s a fellow loner on the outskirts eager to escape the room and rush off home. Offer them a smile and they would most likely understand. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself noiselessly talking about what really matters.

    The Soulmate Club

    “Introverts tend to be slow to warm up to people enough to connect. Seeing people over and over and sharing a common interest provide easier entry into conversation than just going to a party or bar where you have to jump in with both feet right away”, explains Sophia Dembling, author of the book Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After.

    And if you think about it really hard, Dembling has a point. Starry nights and silent wonders might be only things powerful enough to move you, but there are certainly others who share your love for world’s simple pleasures. Decide what interest you the most, and look around for a class, course or a club you can join. Finding a person with that one, but significant mutual interest might prove as unexpectedly fulfilling and ultimately lead to a deep and genuine connection.

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    The Joe Fox & Kathleen Kelly Story

    After all, romance can be found in the most mundane of places, and all it takes is a little effort on your part. As daunting as it may be, approaching other people is the only way of communicating your magnificent inner self – even though introverted, you have no reason of being unconfident about your passions and beliefs, and the lack of courage is the only obstacle standing in your way.

    If immediate interactions make you hesitant and clumsy, try exploring Tinder and similar dating scenes in the online environment. Apart from removing the initial dread of having to make eye contact, these dating apps will actually allow you to think before responding and give you a little time to express the real you. Each day you get to “like” a few people and get a few likes back yourself, and the occasional Tinder super like will always bring a smile to your face and and open up some magnificent possibilities.

    Online communication might remove so much of your conversational blocks, and if you do stumble upon a person you like in the real life, consider talking to them via social media first. That way, your shyness won’t seem as obvious as usual.

    From Candlelit Dinners to Eternity

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      Once you’re comfortably cuddled in the arms of the sleepy person beside you, try not to fear. As always, personality conflicts might appear, but there’s nothing a little conversation can’t solve. I’ve learned that introverts have an especially hard time adapting to the hectic dynamic that partnerships often spur, but I’ve also learned that when two people are equally mature, reasonable and caring, sitting in silence can be a blissful daydream. Here’s some advice on how to communicate with talkative and light-hearted partner.

      Coffee, Cigarettes & Conversations

      Intimate dates are your chance to shine.

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      “Introverts tend to be most comfortable in one-on-one situations where they don’t have to compete for attention,” claims Dembling, “They can be good conversationalists if they’re with someone who gives them the space to respond and shows interest in their interests.”

      The fact that filler conversations come boring and exhausting to you is only a sign of your profound personality, and you shouldn’t feel bad about avoiding them. Instead of pretending to care about superficial matters, propose an idea that occupies your brooding mind and see what happens. If a person sitting beside you is mature enough to enjoy an in-depth conversation, there’s an opportunity for you to make a strong connection and eventually open up.

      The Privilege of Solitary Growth

      Even the most extroverted of people need their alone time. Only in quiet moments of solitude we can see ourselves for who we really are and replenish those life juices so important for fuelling our relationships.

      It’s a privilege every soul-searching person is entitled to, and those who don’t understand the significance it has for our inner fulfilment are simply not eligible for developing a joint identity yet. As a stargazing introvert, you probably need these moments to be slightly longer, and explaining that to your significant other might be a challenge.

      Instead of retreating emotionally, offer a simple argument to justify your case – rather than an insult to your lover, your “me” time is a perfectly natural need for reflection and self-improvement, and as such, it betters you both as an individual and a partner.

      But being an important need for your spiritual and intellectual growth, you will have to understand, respect and meet the opposing needs of your partner in return. If squeezing their way out of the teeming clubs is their idea of evening fun, try to meet them in the middle and join their outdoorsy escapades as often as your peace-seeking nature allows you.

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      Explain, Retreat & Resolve

      It’s well known and confirmed in my experience that introverted people are not exactly the most triumphant of fighters. In fact, conflicts probably make you immensely passive-aggressive as well, but unfortunately, the one thing you will not be able to avoid in your relationship are arguments.

      Perhaps it’s for the best to set some ground rules early on and practice them along the way – only by staying clear-minded and retaining control, you’ll be able to voice your opinions and state your problems directly and clearly enough. And since you always need a silent moment to regroup your strengths and gather your thoughts, start off with that.

      Talk to your partner about the way you talk, explain that your ponderous silence is not a way of turning them off, but a method that helps you verbalize your emotional response, and ask for a little patience. And if misunderstanding is still unsolvable, don’t stay in a relationship in which you’ll be lonely, instead of having someone to be alone with.

      “Solitude matters, and for some people it’s the air they breathe,” says Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

      Having a little courage, empathy and patience is the best way of finding someone to share that nectarous air with.

      Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/GxAhDWN8M7A via pexels.com

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      Nemanja Manojlovic

      Editor at MyCity Web

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      Last Updated on January 15, 2021

      7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

      7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

      The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

      Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

      Posture

      First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

      • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
      • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
      • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
      • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

      All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

      Facial Expressions

      Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

      • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
      • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
      • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

      If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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      1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

      A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

      The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

      This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

      2. Relax Your Face

      New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

      The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

      To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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      3. Improve Your Eye Contact

      Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

      The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

      To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

      3. Smile More

      There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

      Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

      4. Hand Gestures

      Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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      It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

      5. Enhance Your Handshake

      In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

      “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

      It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

      6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

      As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

      Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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      Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

      Final Takeaways

      Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

      If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

      More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

      Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

      Reference

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